He says, I have determined pure boundaries. I have developed honesty. I have disallowed moral compromise. I have defended the disadvantaged.
I am distributing to the needy. I deplore materialism. I denounced any spiritual compromise, and I deny any excuse for greed.
He covers everything. And that's so needed today to understand that integrity is not a little part of your life, it is your life. A lack of integrity in any area is to lack integrity. Have you ever thought about the fact that being a person of integrity means having integrity in all areas of life? If you lack biblical moral standards in one area, such as honesty or purity, you no longer have integrity. So how can you develop and maintain your integrity?
How does this happen? You're going to find out today. This is wisdom for the heart and Stephen Davey will take us back to the book of Job. He began a message yesterday that he didn't have time to complete.
So after a little review, Stephen will conclude this message called The Last Stand of a Desperate Man. What follows in chapter 27 is the logical question of Job as he asks, who can understand God? He would then logically say, well, why does mankind ignore this, the coming judgment of this God?
I mean, how can you not trust him? How foolish is mankind to ignore God? Look at verse eight. For what is the hope of the godless when he is cut off, when God requires his life?
It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the what? The judgment, the intuitive understanding of mankind, they know they're accountable. They run from it. Why do they run from God? At the heart of it, he says in verse 21, the east wind will indeed catch him, the judgment of God that is, and he is gone for it whirls him away from his place for it will hurl at him without sparing. He will surely try to flee from its power. That's what the unbeliever says. I can get away with it.
I can outrun God. He'll let me in. He'll overlook.
He'll slide it under the carpet. So rather than dealing with the justice of God and the gospel of Christ, they foolishly believe that in the end, God's just going to say, well, come on in. Never mind. As Job takes his last stand, he wonders, as everyone who suffers wonders. And here's his next question. Where can I find wisdom to handle the trials of life? James Chapter one addressed this situation. In light of being surrounded by various trials, ask God for wisdom and I'll give it to you right. We could add if we were writing that text, I'll give it to you just in time and a little bit at a time.
That seems to be how it comes in. Well, in Job Chapter 28, Job is asking the question, where can you find true wisdom? And he gives a longer answer than than James. The first thing he says is that you cannot mine wisdom from the earth. Go back to verse 12. But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep, if you could mine down says it's not in me. And the sea, if you could plummets depth says it is not with me. Not only can you not mine wisdom from the earth, you cannot buy wisdom from other people.
Verse 15. Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can silver be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ufir or in precious onyx or sapphire gold and glass and on and on. In other words, you cannot buy this. You say, well, I don't have gold and silver anyway. Maybe it'll be on sale. No, no blue light special going for wisdom.
Sorry. Walmart doesn't sell it. Sam's don't even stock it, if you can imagine that. You cannot find wisdom on the shelves of the earth. You can't buy it from people.
So where do you get it from? Both Job and James answer here. Job answers in verse 23. God understands its way and he knows its place. He knows where it is. Look down to verse 28.
To man, he says, behold, look, the fear of the Lord. There's wisdom to depart from evil. There is insight. That's wisdom.
Here's the secret unfolded. Wisdom is actually a byproduct. And you gain wisdom as you do two things. Not after you do two things, not before you do two things, but as you are practicing these two things.
Job gives them to us. First, when you worship God with total reverence, that's what he means when he says, look, the fear of the Lord there, there's wisdom. When you worship God with reverence. Secondly, when you walk with God with transparent obedience, that's what he means. When you depart from evil, that's understanding.
You take life seriously. You live life for the glory of God. Wisdom comes to those who are in the process of worshiping God and walking with God. When there is surrender and submission, you discover wisdom. Now, our problem is we want wisdom, but we want it without surrender. We want to know how to handle life, but we don't want to surrender that life to God.
And then we wonder why we lack insight and wisdom. Now, at the end of these verses, at the end of chapter 28, most believe that there's a pause. And if you look at the beginning of the text, you can tell that something stopped Job and he was finished. And then he begins again. Many Bible scholars seem to all agree, as I've read them, that that he's waiting for Zophar to speak.
Zophar is the third in line. And he's spoken after Bill that each time and in this third round, it would be expected that Zophar would now speak. No speech. He never does. We don't know if we walked off in disgust because Job didn't listen to his second speech.
More than likely, he's still there, but he knows he has nothing more to say. But Job does. And so he launches in in verse 29 with answering another question. How do you define happiness? How do you define happiness?
Job in this chapter does something he's never done before. He leans back, almost must have just settled into the ash pile, got a little more comfortable if he could and and said, let me tell you about the good old days. Let me tell you what life used to be like. Now, you know, it's not unlike people who suffer. They love to talk about the past, don't they? When life was easier, maybe carefree. Let's just take a walk down nostalgia lane. Now, as he walks down this lane, he actually defines happiness. It's not one of these elements. It's all six of them.
Let me give you six ingredients of happy living. First, there was an awareness of God's presence and care. Look at verse two, Chapter 29. Oh, that I were as in months gone by those good old days.
What made him good, Job? Well, those were the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone over my head and by his light, I walked through darkness. Notice verse four, when the friendship of God was was over my tent. I mean, it was obvious that God had God lived on my street.
In fact, his tent hovered over mine. There are plenty of texts that inform us that Joe believes God is still aware of his needs. But in the good old days, it was obvious, right?
You have your own testimony of that. Maybe right now it's difficult and you can think back when it just used to be so clear God was right there. Job says in happier times, I had a had an appreciation for whatever God gave me. That'd be the second element, an appreciation for whatever God gives. He says in verse five, my children were all around me.
My family's all there. I love this phrase. My steps were bathed in butter. Some of you can't eat butter anymore, can you?
And you remember the good old days when you get a lather it on thick. I thought, you know, here he's talking about a rarity, a special treat because of the lack of refrigeration. He made it yet eat it.
He says, I just my my steps were bathed in butter. Happiness also to him meant having an opportunity to influence others. He goes deeper here. For seven talks about going to the city gate and having the ability to influence others. The opportunity to be generous and compassionate versus 12 to 20. It isn't all just receiving.
It's giving. Happiness was found in a place of respect earned by giving godly counsel versus 21 to 25. Happiness is awareness of God's presence. It is appreciation for what God gives.
It is having an opportunity to influence others, an opportunity to be generous and compassionate toward the needy. And it is found in a place of respect earned by giving godly counsel. This chapter is unique to everything Job has said in this book. I believe it merely sets us up for the great grief as he recounts in the next chapter that everything he had, he has now lost. All these wonderful things are gone.
And so that nostalgic trip just kind of sets us up to hear the agony of Job, who in Chapter 30 does nothing more than catalog all of the catastrophic changes in his life. This is what I have lost. I used to have steps bathed in butter, and now I cannot eat any thing. I once had my children around me, and my children are gone. I was once in a place of great respect, and I could give godly influence and counsel to others. But now look, verse 27 of Chapter 30, I'm seething within. I can't relax. Days of affliction confront me. I go about mourning without comfort. I now stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
I used to go there and take the judge's seat. Now I cry for help. I beg. I've become a brother, verse 29, to jackals and a companion of ostriches.
In other words, only the wild animals come to visit me. My skin is corroded. It's falling off me dead, and my bones burn with fever. Therefore my harp has turned to mourning and my flute to the sound of those who weep. Here's the point.
You would expect Job at this moment to throw in the towel. Maybe you're there too right now. Maybe you've been there in recent days. You remember the good old days when butter was plentiful, when your children were around you, when God seemed so close.
Those were the good old days. Now they're lost. Now it's days of affliction, days of pain, days of suffering, days of debt, days of illness, days of abandonment. And now you're like Job. He says, my harp, when it plays, representing his life, it can only mourn.
And my flute, whenever I play it, the flute of my life, it only delivers sounds that sound like sobbing and weeping. Well, if you can believe it, this is at this moment in time when Job takes his last stand. It is. It is courageous.
It is amazing to me. And he becomes for me at this moment, even more than before, an amazing sufferer, because we're about to see that he will dig in his heels and he will cling to fresh commitments to God. This is not the time when you make fresh resolutions for God. This is exactly what he does here. In chapter 31, he will define for us the answer to this fifth and final question. He's asked questions already like these. Who can understand the greatness of God?
Why does mankind ignore the coming judgment of God? Where can you find true wisdom? How do you define happiness? And now number five, how can you develop a life of integrity? And I want to turn around his words because they make, by simple nuance, positive statements on what true integrity is all about. And I want to give you ten of them very quickly. Number one, determine pure boundaries.
Determine pure boundaries. Look at verse one. I have made a covenant with my eyes. How then could I gaze at a virgin, a single woman? In other words, integrity is developed by determining ahead of time what you will look at and what you won't look at.
And for Job, it was, even with all of the possibilities that he had, even with all of the opportunities that he had, he says, I refuse to take advantage of my power and my position. I'm going to keep my eyes clean and clear. For us today, the battle for integrity would be a battle with the media. It would be a battle with the Internet.
It would be a battle with television. At the outset of these ten things, let me say here, to develop integrity, know this, integrity does not happen by accident. Integrity will not sneak up on you.
Oh, I didn't expect you. No, integrity is something that must be pursued. It must be developed.
It must be desired. And part of the one who truly desires integrity, you will discover in their lives they have developed, determined, pure boundaries. They can tell you where they are.
They can tell you what they are and where. Develop, secondly, honesty. Verses five and six, he writes in verse five, if I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened after deceit, let him weigh me with accurate scales and let God know my integrity. In other words, integrity and truth are sisters.
They are synonymous. Tell the truth. We live in a world of lies and lying. Be honest in little things and big things. He says, I will be honest.
Third, disallow moral compromises. In verses nine to eleven, he candidly talks about resisting the enticement of a married woman. He's spoken earlier of a single woman and how he keeps his eyes pure by not lusting after her. He says here in verse seven or verse nine, if my heart has been enticed by a woman, if I have lurked at my neighbor's doorway, may my wife belong to another. On the first count in verse one, he speaks of someone he's pursuing.
And in this account, he's speaking of someone who is pursuing him. He says, I'm not going to lurk by her doorway. I'm not going to leave my business card.
I'm not going to give a telephone number away. I'm going to steer clear is what he's saying. Steer clear.
Ladies and gentlemen, especially in this culture where men and women work every day next to each other, there is no such thing as innocent flirting. Don't compromise. Don't make any excuse. Don't say it's nothing.
It might be nothing now, but nothings have a way of turning into some things. I have pastored long enough to see marriages destroyed by couples who were involved in the same Bible study. Couples who counseled one another destroyed when partners from both marriages left their spouses for one another. Disallow moral compromises. Don't hang around the door for the wrong reasons. Number four, integrity defends the disadvantaged. In verses 13 to 15, Job's words can be turned into a positive definition of integrity as one who doesn't take advantage of his power and position to mistreat an employee. Those who work for Job were treated fairly. And those of you that have people working for you, this will be a mark of integrity that you defend the disadvantaged. You handle them with kindness and with fairness. Number five, you distribute to the needy. In the next few verses, verses 16 to 23, Job will describe a person of integrity as one who will distribute to those who need food and clothing. In fact, he is so emphatic that Eliphaz was wrong, that condemned Job for inhospitable treatment of strangers, of turning orphans away, of refusing to help widows, that he says here in verse 21, if I have lifted up my hand against the orphan because I saw I had support in the gate. In other words, everybody would say to me, yeah, Job, that'd be the right thing to do.
Let my shoulder fall from the socket and my arm be broken off at the elbow. Do you think he's serious about his reputation and testimony of integrity? He says, in other words, if I mistreated a widow or an orphan, let me be disabled. Sixth, a man or woman of integrity deplores materialism. Verses 24 and 25, those who put their trust and confidence in gold.
He says, that's not me. Number seven, developing integrity demands that you denounce spiritual compromises. Now, in a rather confusing text, verses 26 to 28, he pulls something out of his culture, those pagans of his day who blew kisses toward their shrines. They wanted to be so reverent toward their false gods that if they didn't have time to go and worship, kneel, pray, give food or whatever, at least when they walked by they would blow a kiss toward their god. What Job is saying here is, I have not only bowed at the shrine of a false god, not only have I not given food to them, not only have I not prayed to them, I haven't even nodded at the shrine. I haven't blown a kiss.
I haven't done the politically correct thing, you know, we do today. We talk about all the other faiths. Ladies and gentlemen, there is no other faith but faith in God through Christ. We're not to talk about all those other faiths. They're false.
The politically correct even in the church blow kisses toward false gods rather than confront and create controversy. Integrity means, number eight, that you display compassion toward the stranger, verses 29 to 32. Number nine, integrity means you decline hypocrisy in all things. Verse 33 he asks, have I covered my transgressions like Adam?
Interesting. I know about Adam, he says. He sinned and tried to cover his nakedness.
Have I done that? He assumes the answer is no, he hasn't and people know he hasn't. He refused to play the hypocrite.
He's real and genuine. Number 10, Job effectively says in verses 38 to 40, integrity demands that you deny any excuse for greed. He says, I have determined pure boundaries, I have developed honesty, I have disallowed moral compromise, I have defended the disadvantaged, I am distributing to the needy, I deplore materialism, I denounced any spiritual compromise, I display compassion toward others, I decline hypocrisy and I deny any excuse for greed.
If you didn't notice and I'm sure you did just unconsciously, Job covers every possible area of life. Stephen Lawson pointed out in his commentary that Job's integrity has affected his stewardship life, his thought life, his ethical life, his home life, his work life, his community life, his financial life, his spiritual life, and his social life. He covers everything and that's so needed today to understand that integrity is not a little part of your life, it is your life. We have been fed the lie that it's possible to be a person of integrity in public but not in private.
That is a lie. A lack of integrity in any area is to lack integrity. Job says, take a good look anywhere in my life. Go through my files, check my internet sites, interview my employees, look at my expense accounts, sift through my bank records, look at my giving record at church and other charities, interview my wife, talk to my neighbors, ask my business associates, talk to my closest friends, dig away. Just like they do when a man runs for political office, suddenly things surface. He says, I have nothing to hide. You dig away.
Check it all out. You will find that I am a person who wants to be, who would like to be, who must be, who pursues nothing less than true integrity. So Job takes his stand. He will not speak again until God speaks. I wonder though as we come to the conclusion of this, will you stand wherever you are, whatever your culture or context, will you take your stand for integrity, ultimately for the glory of God.
Pray as John Wesley prayed, a pioneer leader in the great awakening who prayed in the late 1800s this prayer and I close with this. He said, I am no longer my own but thine. Put me to what thou wilt. Rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing. Put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside by thee, exalted for thee or brought low by thee. Let me be full. Let me be empty. Let me have all things. Let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure, O glorious God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Thou art mine and I am thine. Stephen called this message the last stand of a desperate man. Stephen's working his way through a series called The Hush of Heaven. We have one more message to go in that series and that'll be next time. Between now and then, I have some information for you. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to install the Wisdom International app to your phone or tablet. Once you do, you can take this Bible teaching ministry wherever you go. You can follow along on both the Wisdom Journey and Wisdom for the Heart. You can access the library for Stephen's 36 years of Bible teaching. All of his sermons are available on that app and you can listen to each one or read Stephen's manuscript. You can read the daily devotional, read Stephen's blog, follow our year-long reading plan and much more.
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